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Alpha and Contura reach agreement with UMWA

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World Coal,

Trade union United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has reached tentative agreements with Alpha Natural Resources and Contura Energy, a new company formed by Alpha’s first-lien lenders and holding the bulk of Alpha’s core assets. The agreement covers around 900 workers are mines in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

“This has been a long and difficult set of negotiations, UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “It is never easy bargaining with a company in bankruptcy, especially one that has a judge’s order in its back pocket that eliminates the existing agreement.”

The agreement with Contura Energy would cover almost 800 workers at the Cumberland and Emerald mines in Pennsylvania, the McClure preparation plant in Virginia and the Power Mountain preparation plant in West Virginia. The agreement with Alpha would cover over 100 UMWA workers at preparation plants in West Virginia that are not being transferred to Contura.

“The devastation to America’s coal industry in undeniable,” Roberts continued. “This is the last of three companies that filed bankruptcy in 2015 to emerge and we sincerely hope there will be no more.”

The agreements now go to the union’s membership for approval, which is by no means assured. UMWA recently members rejected an agreement with the Bituminous Coal Operations Association, whose largest member is Murray American Energy, on a new five and a half year contract.

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